Oct. 17, 2008
NIU 3, UB 0 Final Box
DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team improved to 9-2 at home as the Huskies (12-9, 4-3) needed only three sets to defeat Buffalo (5-16, 0-7), 25-20, 25-16, 25-19, on Friday night in Mid-American Conference competition at Victor E. Court.
"It was great for us to have another positive outcome at home with the help of the band and crowd giving us some good energy," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden of the Huskies, who held the Bulls to a .156 attack percentage, while hitting .290 and totaling 44 kills to Buffalo's 30. "I thought we did a really good job of taking care of the ball on our side of the net."
Senior Irene Johnson (Schaumburg, Ill./Schaumburg) set the tone early as she recorded five kills in the first set as she helped NIU jump out to an 18-11 advantage, leading to a 25-20 win. Johnson ended up with a team-high 12 by the end of the match and recorded a .524 hitting percentage.
"Irene did a really good job of moving the ball around," Gooden said. "She put herself in really good positions to score points."
Senior Katie Walsh (St. Charles, Ill./North) started the second set off with a pair of block assists with freshman Kristin Hoffman (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) and then added back-to-back kills to put the Huskies up 8-3 en route to a 25-16 win.
"Katie did a nice job of touching a lot of balls on her blocks," Gooden said. "She and Kristin had a good rhythm tonight and she was able to score some points for us as well."
Junior Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview) put NIU up 17-12 in the third set after her 11th and final kill of the match as she extended her streak to 23 matches with 10 or more kills. The Huskies were then able to ride that cushion to a 25-19 win.
Hoffman (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) notched 22 assists and added three kills to pace the NIU offense. On defense, senior Maria Benitez (Lincoln, Ill./Lincoln) and Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) each registered 10 digs.
"Our back row did a nice job tonight of controlling the ball, led by Maria and Maddie," said Gooden.
The Huskies wrap up their four-match homestand tomorrow night with a contest against Akron (7-10, 0-3) at 7 p.m. CST.